Reporting Tony Aiello
NEW YORK (1010 WINS/ CBS 2) – For the past 10 years, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association’s Santa Claus has been bringing holiday cheer and gifts to the children of police officers who were killed in the line of duty.
Now, the man who portrays St. Nick is in need of a Christmas miracle. Retired police officer Angelo Grande, 65, is on renal dialysis and needs a kidney transplant.
“I like to give help. Asking for help is a little difficult,” Grande told CBS 2′s Tony Aiello.
PBA President Patrick Lynch said Grande has dedicated his life to caring for others. After retiring from the force, Grande began working for the PBA helping sick and injured officers get their lives in order.
“Even now when he goes through dialysis he is on the phone helping our members, when he is done he comes back to the office and starts working again,” Lynch said. “Even though he has this problem it does not stop him, he does not miss a beat — you physically have to say, ‘Angelo, you need to sit down and relax.’”
Lynch said Grande is not the type of person to come out and ask for help so the PBA and its members are going to do it for him.
“He’s the guy, first in line to help everyone else. Now Angelo … Santa Claus … needs help. He needs a kidney,” Lynch said.
It is the season of giving and it turns out there are thousands of New Yorkers just like Grande, hoping someone is willing to give them a part of themselves, give them a second chance at life.
There are more than 7,300 New Yorkers on the kidney transplant wait list. Nationwide, almost 87,000 people are looking for a donor.
Two retired cops have offered to donate a kidney to Grande, but ultimately neither proved to be a suitable match.
So this Christmas, a Santa named Angelo is looking for an angel.
“Search your heart. Search your heart and see if you want to give it a shot,” Grande said.
Anyone interested in donating a kidney to “Santa” should contact the transplant coordinator, Pat Delforio, at Northshore Hospital at 516-472-5821. One of the qualifications to become a donor for Grande is type “O” blood type.